Review - Rhine Enchantment Southbound
Our Rhine Enchantment cruise was the last cruise of the 2022 regular season. We were on the southbound tour which began in Amsterdam and ended in Milan. Here is a short review that my wife and I put together. We usually agree on most everything, but she may have some additional input which you might see in the comments. Keep in mind that reviews are very subjective so there may be some opinions that differ from what other people have experienced. If you have been on this trip and have comments, please post them. If you have questions, please ask. Any underlined blue text in our review will be a link to pertinent information on the web.
We arrived a day early in Amsterdam taking advantage of the Tauck GOT benefit. The first night was at the Sofitel Legend The Grand Hotel. We arrived late in the morning and to our surprise our room was ready. (A first for us) We spent a bit of the first day exploring Amsterdam on foot before conking out due to jet lag and a 9 hour time difference. We decided to just eat in the hotel restaurant as we were too tired that evening to venture out.
Day 1 Welcome to Amsterdam
Day 1 started out with breakfast in the hotel. There was a separate room set up for Tauck guests which had a buffet breakfast. There were no cooked to order items, but the buffet did have fresh squeezed orange juice.
It was not until later in the afternoon that we met in the hotel lobby for the bus ride to the ship, The MS Inspire. That night was spent docked in Amsterdam.
Day 2 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
An early morning wake up then breakfast. Breakfast in the main dining room was buffet style with cooked to order items. The breakfasts were very good but sadly no fresh squeezed orange juice.
Today we had a tour of Amsterdam which included a canal boat ride.
Back to the ship then a 2 PM sail away. Activities that afternoon included a scarf tying demonstration, a lecture on Tulips and a Bridge Players meeting in Arthurs. (Nothing of interest to me)
Each evening at about 6 PM there was a social hour in the lounge followed by dinner in the main dining room.
The food every night in the dining room was excellent. I don’t think we had a bad meal the entire trip.
Each evening on the ship there was entertainment in the lounge which ranged from good to awful.
Day 3 Düsseldorf Germany
There were 3 excursions offered today in Düsseldorf. We chose the Düsseldorf Craft Brew Hall Tour and Tasting.
Day 4 Rhine Valley Sailing & Wiesbaden Germany
The daylight hours today were spent cruising the Rhine through what is called The Romantic Rhine. A good part of our time was spent up on the sun deck where we could see the many castles and vineyards along the Rhine.
This evening we were docked in Weisbaden, Germany.
Tonight’s dinner was off the boat at Schloss Biebrich. According to the cruise director tonight’s dinner will be combined with another Tauck group. According to her this is the first time ever that the northbound and southbound Rhine cruises came together at the same place. The 2 ship groups were separated but in the same huge room. The bad news is that noise level was almost unbearable, and it was difficult to impossible to hold a conversation. The entertainment was a man with a guitar and a female singer who had to turn the volume up to be heard over the crowd noise. An overall unpleasant experience. The food was good however.
Day 5 Heidelberg Germany
We docked at about 10 AM in Mannheim, Germany and then off on a bus ride to Heidelberg and Its Castle.
Lunch today was in Heidelberg at Vetter's where we had a German lunch of sausages, sauerkraut, pretzels and of course German beer.
This evening there was entertainment onboard from a group called The Sandy Quartet. This was awful. We had to leave after about the second song. The group had the volume set on the amplifiers to a level that hurt my ears. I am not averse to loud music having been to my share of Led Zeppelin and Who concerts in my younger days, but in this small venue it was out of place. I am sure they are competent musicians, but it was not my cup of tea.
Day 6 Alsace, France / Black Forest Germany
Today we were docked in Strasbourg France. There were a couple of choices for shore excursions, and we chose the Alsatian Sampler – the best of the French region. It included a visit to the town of Colmar and lunch at Achellee Vinyards.
When we returned to the ship, the staff had been very busy decorating for Halloween evening festivities.
Day 7 Basel or Zürich Switzerland
Today we were docked in Basel which was the last stop on the river portion of the tour. We opted for the tour of Zürich which required a bit of a bus ride. Lunch today was at Zunfthaus Zur Waag which is an old Guild House in Zürich.
Day 8 Basel and Disembarkation
Today we left the boat early for the train which took us to Lugano. The train took us through the Gotthard Base Tunnel under the alps. After a few hours in Lugano, it was off to Milan by bus.
Day 9 Milan
In Milan we stayed at the Hotel Principe di Savoia. A very nice 5 star hotel with lousy wi-fi. (at least in our room)
The breakfast provided was in a special room for Tauck with a buffet and no cooked to order items. Sadly, no fresh squeezed orange juice.
Today we had a guided walking tour of Milan then a boatload of free time.
This evening was our after hours visit to the Last Supper. This was a highlight for my wife!
Day 10 Milan and Lake Como
After breakfast it was off to Lake Como by bus for our tour of the area. Our plans had to be changed a bit as the winds on the lake prevented us from crossing over to the town of Bellagio. We were able to take the boat down the lake since the unsafe conditions were only on the upper area where the crossing occurs. We also lucked out as the storm that passed thru the night before sprinkled the first snow of the season on the mountains north of Lake Como.
Lunch today was at the Grand Hotel Imperiale in Moltrasio before heading back to Milan.
Tonight’s dinner was the farewell dinner in the hotel.
Bond James Bond - Scenes from Casino Royale were filmed here.
Day 11 Home
A 5 AM wakeup for our trip to the airport.